Varieties of Encounter

On the back burner I have a study / paper I want to do: Varieties of Encounter, today I was delighted to read a snippet from Elizabeth Synnot’s Thesis. The delight is there too because I want to bring forth dialogue, encounter in the training for the CITP

Producing Genuine and Reciprocal Relating
Create a Leadership Renaissance

September 2005

A quote follows from her thesis available on the ANZPA site

Dialogue David Bohm, in the organisational literature, introduces dialogue as an essential form “so that creativity can be liberated” (Bohm & Factor, 1985). Dialogue, like encounter, is oriented to us impacting on one another. Dialogue can be viewed as a very particular form of encounter. Dialogue’s emphasis is on openness to one another and intelligent and rational discourse. David Bohm articulates his hope for dialogue and relates it to creating. … It may turn out that such a form of free exchange of ideas and information is of fundamental relevance for transforming culture and freeing it of destructive, misinformation, so that creativity can be liberated (Bohm, 1987) LITERATURE REVIEW

Creating Leadership Renaissance 13 Bohm has a clear picture of dialogue as the process to fulfil this transformation. What Bohm describes, below, is akin to Moreno’s canon of creativity: … The process of dialogue itself is a free flow of meaning among all the participants. In the beginning, people were expressing fixed positions, which they were tending to defend, but later it became clear that to maintain the feeling of friendship in the group was much more important than to hold any position. Such friendship has an impersonal quality in the sense that its establishment does not depend on a close personal relationship between participants. A new kind of mind thus begins to come into being which is based on the development of a common meaning that is constantly transforming in the process of the dialogue. People are no longer primarily in opposition, nor can they be said to be interacting, rather they are participating in this pool of common meaning which is capable of constant development and change. In this development the group has no pre-established purpose, though at each moment a purpose that is free to change may reveal itself. The group thus begins to engage in a new dynamic relationship in which no speaker is excluded, and in which no particular content is excluded. Thus far we have only begun to explore the possibilities of dialogue in the sense indicated here, but going further along these lines would open up the possibility of transforming not only the relationship between people, but even more, the very nature of consciousness in which these relationships arise (Bohm, 1985, p. 175).

David Bohm’s dialogue is a distant cousin of encounter. Dialogue is akin to the sharing phase in a group after a sociodrama. See an illustration of this in the next chapter, Description of the Work, p. 38. Dialogue is oriented to producing openness and friendliness in interactions between groups and people. In dialogue, a group of people can explore the individual and collective presuppositions, ideas, beliefs and feelings that subtly control their interactions. It provides an opportunity to participate in a process that displays communication successes and failures. It can reveal the often puzzling patterns of incoherence that lead the group to avoid certain issues, or, on the other hand, to insist, against all reason, on standing and defending opinions about particular issues (Bohm, Factor, and Garrett, 1991).

Both Moreno’s encounter and Bohm’s dialogue have the broad purpose of social revolution and healing humankind. However, Moreno’s encounter involves the production of a large range of roles and relationships with a person’s heightened spontaneity being the catalyst for creativity. Dialogue, as a model, is still exploratory and its methods and techniques are continuing to unfold and develop (Bohm & Factor, 1985; Williams, 1994). Sociodrama has an evolving form and a suite of tried-and-true production techniques for exploration, creativity and integration.

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